Saturday, January 20, 2018

'A more humble Jack'

UNC chairman talks on rebranding, strength of party


Q&A: United National Congress chairman Jack Warner is interviewed by reporters as he leaves the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's following yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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A NEW and improved, less adversarial Jack Warner.

That is what you can look out for as Works and Infrastructure Minister Warner begins his second term as chairman of the United National Congress (UNC).

Warner crushed competitors Ashvani Mahabir and Mooniram Heru, as he retained chairmanship of the UNC in the party's internal elections on Saturday.

Warner, fresh from his victory at the polls, met with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the UNC political leader, at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's yesterday.

Talking to members of the media following his hour-long meeting with Persad-Bissessar, Warner said he will be rebranding himself and his style of leadership.

"I have to rebrand myself into a new kind of chairman and be less adversarial and be more humble and unassuming and inclusive," Warner said yesterday.

Warner did not say whether his proposed new style was at the behest of Persad-Bissessar.

Warner showed first-hand his "less adversarial" approach when asked for a response to statements made by Congress of the People (COP) chairman Joseph Toney about the state of the People's Partnership coalition.

The People's Partnership coalition consists of five political parties—the UNC, the Congress of the People, the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC).

On Monday, Toney suggested the People's Partnership coalition is "fragile".

"As far as I am concerned, at this point in time the People's Partnership is a fragile entity, given the developments that took place last week," Toney stated.

Toney was referring to the resignation of San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray from the COP.

Coudray joined the UNC and successfully contested the party's deputy political leader post at Saturday's elections.

Asked for a comment of Toney's statements, Warner said: "He must be know something that I do not know, and I as chairman of the UNC, I am not aware of any fragility in the People's Partnership. We must be using different yardsticks.

"I do not have the information he (Toney) has to come to that judgment," Warner said. "I believe that we are strong and getting stronger every day. There will be a difference of opinion, but there is no reason for us to panic. As chairman of the UNC, I am not panicking, I am not unduly worried," he said.

"It (Toney's statement) will cause concern and that is why I will temper myself and not say too much. I think that we are fortunate to have the kind of prime minister and political leader we have, who embraces all and who runs a government that is truly democratic, and I believe as long as she is there the ship is in good hands," Warner said.

Warner said he and the newly elected executive of the UNC will work assiduously to strengthen the party and there is no bad blood between any of them despite picong of the hustings of the internal elections.

"With the new executive we have and the working relationship we have with all the members, I am quite sure we are in for better days. Better days are ahead, are coming, so to speak," warner said.

"If (US President Barack) Obama can work with (US Secretary of State) Hillary (Rodham-Clinton), and Hillary can work with Obama, I am quite sure I can work with anybody and everybody can work with me," he said.

Obama and Rodham-Clinton engaged in mud-slinging during the Democratic party's internal elections.